The preservation of older buildings is essential for the culture and economy of that city. Why? Well structures of a certain age, especially those built before World War II, tend to consist of high-quality materials like rare hardwoods such as heart pine and wood from old-growth forests that have ceased to exist.
Prewar buildings were constructed in accordance with differing standards. A 100-year-old building might have a better chance of extended life than newer buildings.
The antebellum Kennedy-Baker-Walker-Sherrill House in West Knoxville, Tennessee, was threatened to fall to a development project when the City Council approved a zoning deal. Yet thanks to its classification as a historic site, the home and its five-brick-thick walls will be renovated as an office building that could stand strong against natural disasters.
Even when you do demolish an aging building, you could be destroying many valuable community resources in the process.
Ten years ago, the Daylight Building in Knoxville was considered functionally useless and unappealing to the eyes. Yet in lieu of destroying the building, Dewhirst Properties purchased and renovated the Daylight; themselves bringing light to drop-ceilings carved from heart-pine wood, a sizable clerestory, a front awning decorated with unique tinted “opalescent” glass, and a facade lined with shiny copper.
This supposed old wreck of a building revealed itself to be a hidden treasure.
Furthermore, it seems that even the owners of new businesses prefer to house their corporate endeavors in older buildings.
In 1961, urban activist Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in which Jacobs outlined economic advantages available to businesses who choose to situate themselves in older buildings.
Jacobs said that new buildings make good homes for major chain stores, but other types of businesses–-like book shops, ethnic eateries, antique shops, neighbourhood pubs, and particularly smaller start-up businesses―succeed better in older buildings.
Beyond businesses, classic buildings attract people. They like the warm aura of time-honoured materials like heart pine, marble, or old brick, and the overall story that the ‘storeys’ tell.
The evolving style mix, the remainders of previous uses, even old and sometimes quaintly outdated looks, all spark spirited and nostalgic discussion. America’s downtown revival efforts reflect the fact that folks favour the warmth and sentimentality of older buildings. And ultimately, old structures can be put to work to house new applications.
Older buildings are, in addition, standing symbols of a community’s culture and complexity. Through their visitation of historic buildings, both residents and tourists can experience the aesthetic and cultural background of its host city. Within every old building stands a sampling of city heritage.
In order to keep the history and heritage of any given city, we must preserve its historic buildings!